As the holiday season has come to a close and a new year is here, I take this opportunity to say goodbye to 2020 and welcome 2021. Happy New Year!!
2020 brought us all many challenges and adversity. Our District and its communities have stepped up to the challenges with a commitment to not let this crazy time break us. I am very proud of the work that our District staff has done to provide the best possible education for our students during this unprecedented time in our professional lives. Our staff and communities have demonstrated resilience, optimism, and the ability to turn adversity into opportunity and I am certain it will continue in 2021. We have had to be very flexible, understanding, and positive to make this all possible. Thank you for your efforts!
Even though things are not back to normal and we don’t know when that will be, I have never been more excited to celebrate the start of a new year. With the new year comes the promise of better days. I am certain that 2021 will bring us new found successes and we will be able to celebrate together. The end of this pandemic is in sight, and the vision of normalcy is ahead.
When answering the question regarding the quality of the learning experiences our students have had during the first half of this school year, it is not an easy question to answer. If we base the data on previously identified learning targets, then we will most likely report stagnant growth, but if we base the data on the new learning our students have had during this time we will report successes. I hear the term “learning loss” quite regularly when discussing the past ten months. I would like to highlight some of the “learning gained.” Our students have been asked to do things differently and this difference has created new learning pathways and prepared our students for a bright future. They have gained incredible resilience, new technological competency, and have found a way forward when they had no say in the matter. Actually, our children are ahead in a sense, not behind. It is my belief that the academic acquisition gaps that may have occurred during this time will be recovered quite quickly. Young people are resilient and will overcome this challenge with the help of our fantastic staff.
We feel that keeping our students learning in an in-person environment is very important and, as long as we can continue to provide in-person instruction in a safe manner with sufficient staff, we will make every effort to do so. Your contributions to these efforts are critically important. These efforts include all students and employees continuing the daily health screenings, mask wearing, social distancing and health hygiene. Once again, thank you for your commitment to our health and safety procedures.
We have put a strong emphasis on connecting with the students and prioritizing their well-being. What will get us through this and back to some sense of normalcy are connections and relationships. Building these meaningful connections with students is key, even if it means we don’t cover all of the course content this year. There has been prioritization of content this year so we know what must be covered. By no means are we lowering our expectations. We still expect to provide meaningful educational opportunities for all students. What we are doing is adapting and being responsive to the needs of our students during this pandemic.
With the new year, it provides each of us the opportunity to take some time and reflect on our lives and recommit to making changes and being better versions of ourselves. As the Superintendent of our District, I am committed to continuous improvement and to always work in the best interest of the students that we serve.
Thank you again for your continued support of our school district and cheers to a happy and healthy 2021!
Joe Meyer, Superintendent
Murray County Central School District